When will the world finally get over COVID-19? MailOnline reports on new calculations which suggest that, on the basis of Dr Anthony Fauci’s estimation that herd immunity will require 75% of the world’s population to be vaccinated, it could be another seven years.
The coronavirus pandemic will drag on for another seven years at the current rate of vaccinations worldwide, new calculations predict.
It will take that long to reach Dr Anthony Fauci’s estimate for the herd immunity threshold of 75% of people inoculated globally, according to Bloomberg’s vaccination calculator.
More than 4.5 million vaccines are being administered a day, for a total of 119.8 million shots given worldwide.
The US has vaccinated 8.7% of its population thus far, at a rate of 1.3 million shot given a day. After a slow start, the rollout is picking up steam and saw a record 1.7 million people vaccinated Thursday.
Despite ranking sixth in the world for the pace of its vaccinations, the US is predicted to reach herd immunity just in time for New Year’s 2022.
But all of this depends on whether the vaccines are effective against variants like those that emerged in South Africa and Brazil, which appear to dull the potency of shots.
Meanwhile, Israel is shaming the world with the speed of its rollout.
It has already vaccinated 58.5% of its population and is on track to reach herd immunity within two months at its current pace of 135,778 shots a day, Bloomberg predicts.
The tiny island of Seychelles, off the eastern coast of Africa, currently ranks second in the vaccination race, with 38.6% of its population having gotten one or more doses of vaccines.
The United Arab Emirates, the UK, and Bahrain are also beating the US with vaccinations given to 11.8% or more of their populations – although the U.S. is closing the gap.
The UK in particular has sped ahead, with an earlier start, a better synchronised program and three vaccines already authorised there.
It has given at least one vaccine dose of vaccine to 15.7% of its population.
At its current rate of 438,421 shots given a day, the UK will reach herd immunity well before the end of the year.
Reports come daily of the ever declining numbers of infections and the ever speedier vaccine drive, the latest scheme being vaccinations at work. But amidst it all come various suggestions of mission creep that could see restrictions lasting beyond the vaccine rollout. The Mirror reports the claim of researchers at Warwick University that, due to the mutant strains, restrictions must remain in place until 2022.
The ongoing spread of mutated coronavirus strains mean restrictions can’t be lifted until 2022 despite the vaccine roll out, experts have warned.
Researchers at Warwick University used simulations to model what could happen if Britain is unshackled in the coming months, before presenting their findings to SAGE.
The paper, published on Friday, said despite nearly 11 million people across the UK having so far been inoculated, the unprecedented roll-out is “insufficient” to allow for a return to normal before the end of the year.
The scientists warn such a move could be catastrophic and leading to thousands more hospitalisations and deaths.
This is because there will still be a substantial amount of people who refuse or cannot have the vaccine, meaning transmissions could quickly soar.
While none of the jabs give complete coverage against the virus.
The paper says if the R rate were to remain at 0.8 and three million doses were being given each week and 95 per cent of those invited for a jab accepted, another wave could still hit before winter this year
Meanwhile, The Sunday Times reports that Chris Hopson, the Chair of NHS Providers, has written to Boris to warn against lifting the lockdown too soon, citing the need to protect the NHS.
Chris Hopson, the Chief Executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, is to write to the Prime Minister to urge him not to lift restrictions until the number of new infections drops below 1,000 a day. It was 18,262 yesterday, with 29,326 people still in hospital, bringing the total number of cases to 3,929,835.
Hopson said this weekend: “We have crested the peak: but we’re only just beginning the descent. We’re still at a dangerously high altitude where the is still under great pressure and the thing that we know is that this descent in going to be much slower because people are taking longer to recover.”
The Scotsman reports that Deputy First Minister John Swinney has become the first politician to explicitly state that the completion of the vaccine rollout is not likely to be the end of restrictions.
At the coronavirus daily briefing on Friday Mr Swinney said it was important to be “clear” with the public about expectations around restrictions and the vaccine, and that there will be a need for restrictions “for some considerable time”.
Mr Swinney said face coverings, social distancing and travel restrictions may remain after the general population is vaccinated.
He said: “I think it is important that we are clear with the public that although the vaccination programme is going well, although it is becoming more extensive in the country, there will be a need for some considerable time – I don’t know how long that will be – for us to live with more restrictions and mitigations that we had before the pandemic…
“Some of the restrictions might have to be in place for longer than the completion of the vaccination programme, to assure us of the security of the population.
“Of course there will also be a emerging information about the efficacy and effectiveness of the vaccine, which we will only know as we see more of the application of the vaccine within society.”
National Clinical Director Jason Leitch added that vaccination is not complete until all countries go through their own programme.
“This is not about Scotland being vaccinated. It’s about the world being vaccinated,” he said.
He added that vaccines “for now, don’t change behaviour”.
Stop Press: Jonathan Sumption has a splendid piece in today’s Mail on Sunday, reminding us all that the virus is here to stay and we all (even SAGE scientists) need to learn to live with it.
Stop Press 2: Janet Daley in the Sunday Telegraph is worth reading too. She calls for Ministers to make clear what benchmark they’re using to determine when we’ll have achieved “victory” over the virus so that we can at least know when the goalposts are being moved.